About SuperMAG

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What is SuperMAG?

SuperMAG is a worldwide collaboration of organizations and national agencies that currently operate more than 300 ground based magnetometers. SuperMAG provides easy access to validated ground magnetic field perturbations in the same coordinate system, identical time resolution and with a common baseline removal approach.

SuperMAG utilizes 3D vector measurements of the magnetic field obtained from ground bases magnetometers. Stations providing absolute measurements (e.g. Intermagnet Observatories) as well as stations providing relative measurements are included. SuperMAG is focused on the variations caused by electric currents flowing in the ionosphere and magnetosphere and hence subtracts the dominant and slowly varying Earth main field.

More information and details are available in A Global Ground-Based Magnetometer Initiative, EOS, Vol. 90, No. 27, 2009.

Purpose

The purpose of SuperMAG it to help scientists, teachers, students and the general public have easy access to measurements of the Earth's magnetic field.

Motivation

For decades ground based magnetometers have proven to be the workhorse of magnetosphere-ionosphere physics and their importance is indisputable.

SuperMAG is the next logical step for the ground magnetometer community to take in the development of a user friendly data service enabling an understanding as well as monitoring of the global electric current system. The data set provided by the ground magnetometer community is truly unique since it provides a nearly global and continuous measurement of a fundamental parameter - the ground level magnetic field perturbations.

Global studies utilizing observations from all available observatories are inhibited or even prevented by several complications:

  1. Obtaining data;
  2. Removal of the main field (baseline determination);
  3. Unknown coordinate system used for the observations;
  4. Artifacts and errors.

SuperMag is developed to remove these obstacles for the user.

Data Holdings

The SuperMAG family consists of a long list of collaborators who generously have agreed to participate in the initiative. Data are provided in a variety of file formats, temporal resolutions, units, coordinate systems and are provided with or without baseline subtracted. The original data can be obtained from the websites listed on the cover page: (http://supermag.jhuapl.edu/.)

SuperMAG Data Handling

SuperMAG is managing a staggering >10 million files (magnetometer data, solar wind data and auroral images). The vast amount of data required SuperMAG to develop a simple and robust data flow, which could accommodate the various types of data as well as their inherent complications. Housekeeping plots are produced at each step and a number of validation routines check the quality of the data after each step. For a thorough description of the data flow see Gjerloev, JGR, 2012.

References

Gjerloev, J. W. (2009), A Global Ground-Based Magnetometer Initiative, EOS, 90, 230-231, doi:10.1029/2009EO270002.

Gjerloev, J. W. (2012), The SuperMAG data processing technique, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A09213, doi:10.1029/2012JA017683.